Although PRIMAL FEAR remains one of my favorite Power Metal bands, albums like “New Religion” make me wonder where the band is intending their sound to go. Of course, “New Religion” is (for the most part) still within the boundaries of what one would consider a PRIMAL FEAR sound. The difference is that “New Religion” is by far the most commercial that the band has sounded in their career. Don’t mistake my comment as saying that PRIMAL FEAR has ‘sold out’. They are far from that still.
On initial listening one will notice that PRIMAL FEAR have moved away from their JUDAS PRIEST worship on this latest release. The dueling guitars and soaring vocals have taken a back seat to the general song writing and catchy rhythms and hooks. Just part of the reason I say that “New Religion” has a more commercial vibe to the album. There are still those Speed Power Metal anthems on the album like “Face The Emptiness”, but even the older sounding tracks sound a tad watered down.
The album is a solid release and it is far from being a poor release. The band is album to pull off a commercial Power Metal sound quite well. The catchy guitar hooks and sing-a-long choruses are enough to even get non-Metalheads bobbing to the rhythm. PRIMAL FEAR does play around with some new elements on this album, such as guitar distortions and vocal distortions. Ralf Scheepers has quite a few layers on his vocals this time and instead of bringing the vocals out – it actually dilutes the power of his voice. There is even a ballad on the album, “Everytime It Rains” that sounds reminiscent of LACUNA COIL. Partially because of the added female vocals, but even the writing is done in a modern style as such.
The latter half of the album does stay more on the PRIMAL FEAR path than some of the earlier tracks and I found myself enjoying the last few tracks the most. Most of the people I have spoken to about this album are very harsh in their criticisms of it. Maybe I’m a little more forgiving then others or maybe I just enjoy when bands try new things but I found “New Religion” to be disappointing but far from horrid. PRIMAL FEAR may not but up to their standards but this album is still better than many other Power Metal albums I’ve heard lately.
Songs to check out: “Face The Emptiness”, “Fighting The Darkness”, “Blood On Your Hands”.
(Online December 12, 2007)